It’s no secret that the pandemic has hit city centers across the UK, but Manchester in particular has been hit particularly hard. According to initial studies by the Economics Observatory, Manchester has suffered significantly from an economic standpoint – second only to London – due to the mix of ongoing lockdowns, higher infection rates, work from home orders and falling consumer confidence.
While support structures are of course in place – such as the continued vacation program – to help the city’s businesses, more needs to be done to save the center from the current slump. At the same time, it is fair to say that we are still a long way from being “normal” until the introduction of the vaccine is complete.
So what can you do? One way for businesses in the city to move to or focus more on e-commerce, as this is both a way to boost commerce and help Manchester’s beating heart keep pumping. Below is how and why.
It plays with Manchester’s strengths
Prior to the initial lockdown, Manchester was named “Europe’s Fastest Growing Tech City,” meaning consumers in the region have a real appetite for digitally-enabled opportunities. In other words, businesses shouldn’t be too concerned about their ecommerce offering not gaining much uptake as there is clearly a significant population.
It is safer
One of the biggest factors with ecommerce is that it is within the current Covid restrictions. Companies that offer online sales with delivery or in-store pickup are allowed to trade and do not pose a major risk of infection to their customers.
There are opportunities for diversification
As a business owner, you should note that e-commerce also allows you to diversify your product or service offering. A notable example of this could be the amount or range of products that you can offer that may otherwise have restricted you in your physical store. With a variety of different delivery options, you can continue to aim to provide your customers with fast service, similar to what they would get from visiting your store on the Highstreets.
It may be future proof
There is still much debate about how consumers will behave once the pandemic is over, but it is likely that many will avoid driving straight downtown for a while. Therefore, e-commerce can continue to help retain these customers and give them the opportunity to continue shopping with you in the future.
Exactly what the future holds remains to be seen, of course, but turning to e-commerce can at least help companies in central Manchester have more chances of fighting – and at least keep going. It is also hoped that e-commerce-assisted infrastructure could play a key role in getting Manchester and other UK cities back on their feet if our national circumstances change – whether post-pandemic or not.
Andrew is a seasoned ecommerce consultant who has been at the forefront of ecommerce for over 10 years, battling the industry’s problems from setting up to acquiring to writing for a variety of publications. His goal is to use his self-help website eCommerce Value to train the sector and fill the skills gap.